Preview: Journeyman

Journeyman

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC. Starts September 24th.

In the UK: Acquired by Sky One

Hoorah! Not only is this another show in which the lead is a British actor playing an American, he’s a hero and he’s a journalist! We need more shows like this.

At first glance, Journeyman seems much like an update/rip-off of Quantum Leap. Dan Vasser (played by Kevin McKidd) finds himself travelling back in time to help people. He doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know when it’s going to happen and he’s not best pleased about it either – for one thing, it’s ruining his marriage.

But there the parallels stop. In fact, Journeyman is closer to being The Time Traveler’s Wife, with McKidd disappearing at really inconvenient moments and reappearing at important points in his own life, only to return days after he left without explanation. And while the “putting right what once went wrong” is a key part of the show, its main focus is on McKidd’s marriage and his former fiancé e, who died in a plane crash. What, the show asks, should he do – warn her and never end up with his current wife and child or let the former love of his life die as she always did?

Is it any good?

On the whole, I was reasonably gripped by this one. McKidd’s plight is not a happy one and you can certainly feel for a guy who’s trying his best in his life, only to have it undermined by something that almost no one is going to believe if he tells them – not without a whole load of evidence.

The relationship with his wife is a little tedious for most of the pilot, with Gretchen Egolf having to play a pretty thankless role: the unsympathetic wife who’s simply spoiling for arguments about why their marriage is falling apart and who’ll rather pout and act scorned when her husband returns home caked in mud after two days’ absence, rather than show the slightest bit of concern. Then again, she does know she’s always played second fiddle to his ex-, Livia (Daybreak‘s Moon Bloodgood – does she only do time travel shows these days, then?). The end of the pilot suggests that that might change, which would be a turn for the better.

As of yet, it’s not clear exactly what wrongs will need to get fixed, but they’re not that interesting at the moment. Neither is it clear exactly what McKidd’s going to do in the past with regards to changing his own future. However, there is the suggestion that he might not have to decide, since his ex- is a bit more clued up about this time travel lark than even he is, which is a bit more fun.

So another NBC show worth a look-in towards the end of the month then. Much is going to depend on the next couple of episodes to see which direction the show will be going in though. A hesitant thumbs-up. Here’s a YouTube trailer.

Cast

Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd)

Katie Vasser (Gretchen Egolf)

Hugh Skillen (Brian Howe)

Livia Beale (Moon Bloodgood)

Jack Vasser (Reed Diamond)